Zittau
HISTORIC CITY IN THE TRI-BORDER REGION

Zittau Salzhaus. © KuWeit Kultur-und-Weiterbildungsgesellschaft mbH
Zittau Salzhaus© KuWeit Kultur-und-Weiterbildungsgesellschaft mbH

Medieval flair, beautiful mountains and internationality – all this and more can be found in the city of Zittau in the German state of Saxony. Situated on the border to two of Germany’s neighbours, it was designated as a “European City of Sport” in 2014. Despite its relatively small size, Zittau offers an enormous range of outdoor sports and activities.

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WELCOME TO ZITTAU

The idyllic city of Zittau is located in a so-called “border triangle”, the place where three countries meet – in this case, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The city lies nestled in the Zittauer Gebirge, the smallest mountain range in Germany. Here you’ll find untouched nature, perfect for hiking or cycling. You can enjoy a great view of the picturesque surroundings from the steeple of St. John’s Church.

Zittau was founded in 1255 and became wealthy through commerce and trade. Long ago, people used to call it “Die Reiche” (The Rich). Its most famous attractions include the “Large Zittauer Lenten Altar Cloth”, which is over 500 years old, and the “Small Zittauer Lenten Altar Cloth”. The large altar cloth depicts well-known scenes from the Bible and is on display in the museum of the Holy Cross Church. The small altar cloth can be found at a former Franciscan monastery which now serves as the City Museum.

Many of the tourist attractions in Zittau, like the monastery, are linked together by the ZittauerCultural Walking Tour. On the tour, visitors are directed to the central square, the Marktplatz, where several old Renaissance- and Baroque-period buildings are located. Two of the most impressive are the City Hall and the Salt House. The Salt House is the central landmark in the historic part of town, built in 1511. On the ground floor, you will find shops and boutiques, as well as the “Markt zum Salzhaus”, a weekly market where vendors sell local products like sausages and handmade wooden articles. There is also a library in the Salt House.

Economically, Zittau is the administrative and shopping centre of the southern Görlitz district. Zittau also has a strong engineering sector and textile industry. The specialises in the areas of Energy and Environment and Transformation Processes in Business and Society. The university has partnerships with over 30 different countries. The activities at the are equally cosmopolitan. It was originally founded to promote cross-border learning in the form of master’s degree programmes. Students at the Institute can pursue a master’s degree in International Management, Ecosystem Services, Business Ethics, Biotechnology or Biodiversity. Some 300 students from more than 20 nations are currently enrolled at the institute.

Internationality is an important topic in Zittau due to its unique role as a bridge between nations at the heart of Europe. In 2001, Zittau established a municipal association together with the Polish city of Bogatynia and the Czech city Hrádek nad Nisou. The three cities jointly organise and host cultural festivals, exhibitions and sport events.

LIVING IN ZITTAU

The summer months are an especially busy time in Zittau. That’s when the historical festival “Spetaculum Citaviae” takes place. When evening falls, Zittau transforms into a medieval city. Knights in regalia, jesters and merchants fill the streets.

When the weather is nice, you can take hiking trips into nature. The city is surrounded by the , a mountain range with beautiful sandstone formations. The rocks often have interesting shapes – like a turtle, for example. There are a number of hiking trails that will take you through the . One of these is the “Kammweg” (Crest Trail) which crosses into the Czech Republic part of the way. You can also go cycling here, or skiing in the wintertime.

If you’re not in the mood for anything too strenuous, you can visit the Zittauer Gebirge via the narrow-gauge railway. The train will take you to Oybin where you can visit an old castle and monastery. In addition to the great view, the exhibitions there highlight the history of the castle.

The railway also heads in the direction of , which has a beach, beach volleyball courts and a bike rental. Or you can simply relax in a wicker beach chair. The Westparkcenter, located nearby, is a good place to go when the weather is bad. You can play indoor tennis there, go bowling or treat yourself to a sauna and massage.

In the summertime, the Freilichtbühne Weinau hosts the Zittauer Film Nights, an outdoor movie programme. There are two other cinemas in Zittau, as well as the Gerhart Hauptmann Theater. Once or twice a month during the semester, the theatre offers students reduced prices on selected performances.

Of course, bars and clubs are a big part of student life in Zittau. The popular Mocca Bar is located in the annex of the Salt House. They host bands and serve great cocktails. Dance parties are held at Neo, Jam Dancebase and the StarClub. The Vinyl is a sports pub. Twice a month, you can try your hand at being a DJ, and Sundays, everyone gets together to watch the popular German crime series (“Crime Scene”) on TV. There’s also the Dezi-Bar down in the basement of Residence Hall D. The student-run bar is a great place to get to know other students at the dormitory. The Association organises concerts, festivals and readings. You can find other party locations just 15 minutes away in the Czech town of Liberec. And for some fine Czech and Polish beer, we recommend going to Café Jolesch.

Zittau has even more to offer, such as public outdoor and indoor swimming pools and a variety of sport clubs open to enthusiasts of mountain climbing, billiards and table tennis. Zittau was named a “European City of Sport” in 2014.

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